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Last Updated: July 15, 2020 7 hours ago

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  • India-US Strategic Energy Partnership Sustainable Growth Pillar India Energy Modeling Forum Launch

    7 hours ago
    An India Energy Modeling Forum was launched on the joint working group meeting of the Sustainable Growth Pillar. India–US Strategic Energy Partnership is co-chaired by NITI Aayog and USAID. The SG pillar entails energy data management, energy modelling, and collaboration on low carbon technologies as three key activities. The India Energy Modelling Forum aims to: Provide a platform to examine important energy and environmental-related issues; Inform decision-making process to the Indian government; Improve cooperation between modelling teams, government, and knowledge partners, funders; Facilitate the exchange of ideas, ensure production of high-quality studies; Identify knowledge gaps at different levels and across different areas; Build the capacity of Indian institutions. NITI Aayog will initially coordinate the activities of the forum and finalizing its governing structure. The forum includes knowledge partners, data agencies, and concerned government ministries.

    TIFAC released report on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients- Status, Issues, Technology Readiness and Challenges

    8 hours ago
    Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), an autonomous organization under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India released the title ‘Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients- Status, Issues, Technology Readiness, and Challenges.’ Highlights: ♦ The report stated that the indigenous production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) needs to be scaled up to a level where the production is economically viable. ♦ The report recommended focusing on engineering and scale aspects of technology development, the need for Mission mode Chemical Engineering with defined targets for uninterrupted synthesis of molecules. ♦ It also suggested creating mega drug manufacturing clusters with common infrastructure in India and the technology platform to be developed for biocatalysis towards reducing process steps for cost optimization and for fluorination, Investment on priority in fermentation sector of large capacity and scale supporting techno-economic feasibility, attention to technologies like hazardous reactions, flow chemistry, cryogenic reactions, and membrane technology. ♦ The report suggested the Government to encourage the Indian companies working in chemical segments such as steroids, amino acids, carbohydrates, nucleosides, etc., to collaborate for technology development or quick technology transfer and the need for closer academia-industry interaction for technology development and commercialization.

    DCGI gave market approval for Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccine

    8 hours ago
    The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the first fully indigenously developed Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccine. This vaccine has been developed by M/s. Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd, Pune. Highlights: ♦ Serum Institute has first obtained the approval of DCGI to conduct Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III clinical trials of Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccine in India.  ♦ After conducting the clinical trials, Serum applied for approval and permission to manufacture this vaccine. These trials have since been concluded within the country. ♦ This vaccine is used for active immunization against invasive disease and pneumonia caused by "Streptococcus pneumonia" in infants.  ♦ The vaccine is administered in an intramuscular manner. ♦ The application along with the clinical trial data has been reviewed by the Office of Drug Controller General of India with the help of the Special Expert Committee (SEC) for vaccines.

    AIM along with Ministries organized COVID-19 Demo-Days to support Startups with COVID-19 Solutions

    17 hours ago
    NITI Aayog’s flagship Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) has partnered with other Ministeries and partners to support Startups with COVID-19 innovative Solutions and to tackle COVID-19 pandemic. The move is aimed to keep the entrepreneurial spirit high across the country as the coronavirus pandemic and economic shutdowns are dealing with a severe blow on the world economy. COVID-19 Demo-Days: ♦ AIM coordinated and concluded a series of virtual "COVID-19 Demo-Days", an initiative to identify promising start-ups with potential COVID-19 innovations to further help them deploy and scale-up their solutions nationwide. ♦ The initiative was launched in partnership with other government bodies including Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Biotechnology (DBT); Department of Science and Technology (DST), Startup India, AGNIi, and other Ministries under the direction of Principal Scientific Adviser to GoI Dr.Vijay Raghavan, and Member Health, NITI Aayog Dr. Vinod Paul.  ♦ Around 1,000 COVID-19 related start-ups from a diverse set of categories that include preventive, curative, and assistive solutions that were put through two rounds of evaluation, from which more than 70 start-ups were shortlisted for the Virtual COVID-19 Demo Days.  ♦ These start-ups will be offered support in the form of funding, access to manufacturing abilities, supply chain and logistics, and finding the right vendors and mentors. ♦ Nine DemoDays for Medical Devices, Personal protective equipment (PPE), Sanitization, Technology solutions, etc were held and led by Mission Director AIM, NITI Aayog R. Ramanan.  ♦ The joint initiative is expected to provide a much-needed fillip to India’s mobilization efforts relating to all COVID-19 related products/services/solutions and give the start-up ecosystem an effective platform to contribute during the current scenario. ♦ Under the virtual Demo Days, more than 340 connections involving more than 50 startups have been made between the startups and various investor groups / other organizations. ♦ Also, the organizers have assisted the startups by suggesting crucial additions to their pitch, advising them on various approvals, testing requirements, etc, providing access to market, buyers, and facilitating registration on portals such as Government e-Marketplace (GeM).

    NITI Aayog presented second Voluntary National Review of India at United Nations HLPF

    2 days ago
    NITI Aayog presented India’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development 2020. The HLPF is the foremost international platform for follow-up and review of progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). HLPF is being hosted virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 47 Member States are set to present their VNRs between 10th-16th July 2020.  Highlights: ♦ The India VNR 2020 report titled "Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local". ♦ VNR is presented by Dr.Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog and was released by Dr.Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Dr V.K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, and Smt. Sanyukta Samaddar, Adviser (SDGs), NITI Aayog.  ♦ Along with VNR, India also presented a short film that encapsulated the processual aspects of the second VNR and captured some of India’s major progress areas on the SDGs. ♦ The report discussed at length the policy and enabling environment, India’s approach to localizing SDGs, and strengthening means of implementation. ♦ VNRs are a critical component of the review of the progress and implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  ♦ The reviews are voluntary and state-led. The aim of the report is to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned. The process of preparation of a country’s VNR provides a platform for partnerships, including through the participation of various relevant stakeholders. NITI Aayog prepared and presented India’s first VNR in 2017. ♦ The HLPF annually meets in the month of July for eight days under the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN. 

    Indian Railways to become Green Railway by achieving net-zero carbon emission

    2 days ago
    The Ministry of Railways has announced mission mode with the goal of transforming Indian Railways into Green Railways by the year 2030. It has taken a number of major initiatives towards mitigation of global warming and combating climate change. Highlights: ♦ Indian Railways, as a part of mission mode, has planned to electrify All routes on Broad Gauge (BG) network by December 2023.  ♦ Indian Railways is currently focusing on the electrification of last-mile connectivity & missing links. Under this, 365 km of major connectivity work has been commissioned amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ♦ Indian Railways strategy to achieve net-zero carbon emission includes Railway Electrification, improve the energy efficiency of locomotives and trains and fixed installations, green certification for installations/stations, fitting bio-toilets in coaches and switching to renewable sources of energy, among others. ♦ So far, Indian Railways has completed electrification of more than 40,000 Route km (RKM) (63% of Broad Gauge routes). Out of the total 18,605 km electrification work was done during 2014-20. Earlier, only 3,835 km electrification work was completed during the period 2009-14. Indian Railways has fixed a target of electrification of 7000 RKM for the year 2020-21.

    Atal Innovation Mission launched ATL App Development Module for school children

    3 days ago
    Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) of NITI Aayog has launched the ATL App Development Module for school children across the country. The app was launched to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The move comes as it is crucial for young Indians to learn skills at a young age and to enable them to become the next generation of technology leaders. ATL App: ♦ AIM, NITI Aayog launched the ATL App Development module in collaboration with Plezmo, an Indian homegrown startup. ♦ The ATL App is an online course and is completely Free for school children. ♦ The young innovators can learn to build mobile apps through six project-based learning modules and online mentoring sessions in various Indian languages and showcase their talent.  ♦ It is also aimed to help to build capacities and acumen for app development within school teachers, periodic Teacher Training sessions will be conducted on the AIM App Development course. ♦ The skills of app development to the young tinkerers of Atal Tinkering Labs across India so that they can integrate their Tinkering Lab innovations with mobile apps enhancing the usability and reach of their innovations.  ♦ It will be one of the largest app learning and development initiatives at a school level in any country. ♦ So far, more than 5100 ATLs have been established in more than 660 districts across the country by AIM with more than 2 million students having access to the Tinkering Labs.

    The Tiger Census of India sets a New Guinness Record

    5 days ago
    The fourth cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation 2018, results of which were declared to the nation on Global Tiger Day last year by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has entered the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest camera trap wildlife survey.  world’s largest camera trap wildlife survey           Terming this achievement a great moment, Union Environment Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar in a tweet message said that this is a shining example of Atma nirbhar Bharat which in the Prime Minister’s own words, was attained through Sankalp se siddhi.   The Environment Minister also said India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has fulfilled its commitment to double the number of tigers four years before the deadline. The country now has an estimated 2967 tigers according to the most recent census. With this number, India is home to nearly 75 per cent of the global tiger population and has already fulfilled its determination to double tiger numbers, made in St. Petersburg in 2010, well before the 2022 target year.  The citation at the Guinness World Record website reads- “The fourth iteration of the survey – conducted in 2018-19 - was the most comprehensive to date, in terms of both resource and data amassed. Camera traps (outdoor photographic devices fitted with motion sensors that start recording when an animal passes by) were placed in 26,838 locations across 141 different sites and surveyed an effective area of 121,337 square kilometres (46,848 square miles). In total, the camera traps captured 34,858,623 photographs of wildlife (76,651 of which were tigers and 51,777 were leopards; the remainder were other native fauna). From these photographs, 2,461 individual tigers (excluding cubs) were identified using stripe-pattern-recognition software. About Project Tiger As well as unprecedented camera trap usage, the 2018 “Status of Tigers in India” assessment also conducted extensive foot surveys that covered 522,996 km (324,975 mi) of trails and sampled 317,958 habitat plots for vegetation and prey dung. It’s estimated that the total area of forest studied was 381,200 km2 (147,181 sq mi) and cumulatively the collection and review of data equated to some 620,795 labour-days.” The quadrennial All India Tiger Estimate is managed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority with technical backstop from India 's Wildlife Institute and implemented by departments and partners from State Forest. The latest 2018 findings showed that India now has an estimated 2967 tigers out of which photographed 2461 individual tigers, a whopping 83 percent of the tiger population, reflecting the detailed nature of the survey. There is hardly any equivalent of such a based species-oriented program as Project Tiger in the world, which began with 9 Tiger Reserves, currently with 50 tiger reserves. India has now firmly established a leading role in the conservation of tigers, with its benchmarking practices viewed as a gold standard worldwide

    Exceptional Operational Efficiency from NTPC Singrauli

    5 days ago
    NTPC Singrauli NTPC Singrauli Unit 1, the oldest NTPC unit has emerged as the country's top-performing unit in the first quarter of the financial year, according to data released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). The station's first unit began generating on 13 February 1982 and continues to serve the country with exceptional results. As per a statement issued by NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power generation company and a central PSU under Ministry of Power, NTPC Singrauli Unit 1, has emerged as the top-performing Unit in the country in the first quarter of the financial year, as per the data released by Central Electricity Authority (CEA). NTPC Singrauli is the oldest Unit and a flagship power station of NTPC Ltd. More About NTPC Singrauli The first unit of the station started generating on February 13, 1982 and continues to serve the country with exceptional performance. According to NTPC Ltd, NTPC Singrauli has an installed capacity of 2000 MW with five units of 200 MW each and two units of 500 MW each. Three units (1,4 & 5) of 200 MW have achieved PLF of 101.96%, 101.85% & 100.35% respectively in Q1 FY 20-21 among the Coal-fired Units, in the country. With a total installed capacity of 62110 MW, NTPC Group has 70 Power stations comprising of 24 Coal, 7 combined cycle Gas/Liquid Fuel, 1 Hydro, 13 Renewables along with 25 Subsidiary & JV Power Stations.

    National Fish Farmers Day 2020 Obseved on 10th July

    5 days ago
    63rd National Fish Farmers Day India celebrates 10th July every year as the "National Fish Farmers Day" to honor the fish farmers, aquapreneurs& fisher folks in recognition of their accomplishments in the field and their contribution in the growth of the fisheries sector in the country. This year it was 63rd National Fish Farmer's Day. On July 10th, the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying in association with the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) hosted a webinar on the occasion of National Fish Farmers Day. Background History: Every year, on 10 July, the National Fish Farmer's Day is celebrated in memory of scientists Dr. K. H. Alikunhi and Dr. H.L. Chaudhury who successfully demonstrated induced breeding (Hypophysation) technology in Indian Major Carps on 10 July 1957 at the former CIFRI Pond Culture Division in Cuttack, Odisha. (presently Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, CIFA, Bhubaneswar). The event aims to draw attention to changing the way the country manages fisheries resources to ensure sustainable stocks and healthy ecosystems. The event is celebrated every year by congratulating outstanding farmers, aquapreneurs, and farmers in appreciation of their accomplishments in the field and their contribution to the development of the country's fisheries sector. Apart from officials, scientists, professionals, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders, fishermen, and fish farmers from across the nation will participate in the event. About NFBD Webinar: On  July 10th the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying in association with the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) hosted a webinar on the occasion of National Fish Farmers Day. Shri Giriraj Singh, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri P. C. Sarangi, Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Dr. Rajeev Ranjan, Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Government of India and senior officials from the Department of Fisheries graced the occasion. Interacting with fishermen, officials, scientists, entrepreneurs at various locations across the country, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri Giriraj Singh observed that to consolidate the achievements of the Blue Revolution and pave the way from NeeliKranti to ArthKranti, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi The "Pradhan MantriMatsyaSampadaYojana" (PMMSY) has been launched with the highest investment ever of Rs. 20,050 crore over the next five years in order to realize its goal of doubling the farmer 's income. This scheme would tackle critical gaps in fish production and sustainability, efficiency, technology, post-harvest infrastructure and management, improving and enhancing the value chain, traceability, creating a comprehensive system for fisheries management and welfare for fishermen. Shri Giriraj Singh said that providing ‘Quality Seed’ of fish is very important in enhancing production and productivity in the country.  On the occasion of 'National Fish Farmers Day,' Shri Giriraj Singh announced that the NFDB, in collaboration with the NBFGR, will undertake the work of developing 'Fish Cryobanks' in various parts of the world, which will promote the availability of 'fish sperms' of desired species to fishermen at all times. This will be the first time in the world when "Fish Cryobank" will be created, which can bring a revolutionary change in the country's fisheries sector to boost fish production and productivity, thereby enhancing prosperity among the fishermen.  

    India's GDP to contract by 3 percent in FY21 says BofA

    6 days ago
    BofA Securities, a foreign brokerage, stated that India's GDP will contract by 3% in FY21 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, assuming the economy is opened up fully from next. The Indian GDP will contract this fiscal, with some estimates ranging up to 7% negative growth.  Highlights: ♦ It also stated that RBI will monetize the fiscal deficit through the purchase of government bonds of up to $95 billion through open market operations (OMO), and its revaluation reserves of $127 billion will be used to recapitalize state-run banks.  ♦ BofA Securities has an estimated 3% contraction with the assumption of the economy opening up fully from mid-August. It is expected that this might rise up to 5% if the COVID-19 crisis prolongs. ♦ It should be noted that India's GDP growth decelerated to 4.2% in 2019-20, the weakest in over a decade. The growth potential is over 7%.

    Cabinet approved Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

    7 days ago
    The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved a new pan India Central Sector Scheme under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund. The main objective of the scheme is to provide a medium-long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and financial support. Highlights: ♦ Under the scheme, banks, and financial institutions will be provided Rs.1 Lakh crore as loans to Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), Self Help Group (SHG), Farmers, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Marketing Cooperative Societies, Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Startups, Aggregation Infrastructure Providers and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Project. ♦ Loans will be disbursed in 4 years. It will begin with the sanction of Rs.10,000 crore in the current year and Rs.30,000 crore each in the next three financial years. ♦ All loans under this financing facility will have interest subvention, for a maximum period of seven years, of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs.2 crore.  ♦ Government of India will provide Rs.10,736 crore as the total outflow as budgetary support.

    Odisha to use satellite technology to prevent encroachment of government land

    7 days ago
    Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik unveiled Bhubaneswar Land Use Intelligence System (BLUIS) which would monitor changes in all government lands in Odisha by leveraging high-resolution satellite imagery. With this, Odisha has become the first state in the country to use space technology and artificial intelligence (AI) for safeguarding government lands. The aim is to prevent the encroachment of government land in the capital city of Bhubaneswar, Odisha.  Highlights: ♦ Bhubaneswar Land Use Intelligence System is a geo-tagged repository of all the government lands in Bhubaneswar. ♦ The new technology is introduced because the present mechanism of detection and enforcement lacks adequate transparency and accountability. ♦ It is created through high-resolution satellite imagery to detect all changes taking place on government lands. ♦ BLUIS is a web and mobile-based solution that will raise alarm over attempts to change the land use. ♦ BLUIS will monitor changes in all government lands in Bhubaneswar by leveraging high-resolution satellite imagery. ♦ This mobile application will alert the enforcement authorities of any new construction on government lands. The GPS on the application will guide the enforcement staff to the exact location and the evidence of enforcement will be uploaded on the application as geo-tagged images and videos.

    PM Narendra Modi to deliver the inaugural address at 2020 India Global Week

    7 days ago
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to deliver the inaugural address on the first day of India Global Week 2020. Centre is to host a three-day virtual conference themed 'Be The Revival: India and a Better New World.' Highlights: ♦ India Global Week 2020 will have 5000 global participants from 30 nations being addressed by 250 global speakers across 75 sessions. ♦ Other officials who will participate at the event are Dr. S. Jaishankar, Union External Affairs Minister, Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Railways, and Commerce & Industry, Lt Governor of J&K, GC Murmu, Isha Foundation Founder Sadhguru, Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, along with UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel, US Ambassador to India Ken Juster, and among others. ♦ The event will feature 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' performance by Madhu Nataraj and a special 100 birth anniversary concert in tribute to the sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.

    Centre released Guidelines for Evaluation of Nano-based Agri-input, food products in India

    8 days ago
    Union Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar released the ‘Guidelines for Evaluation of Nano-based Agri-input and food products in India' on 7 July 2020. The Guidelines are aimed to help the policymakers and regulators to frame effective provisions for future novel nano-based products in the agri-input and food sectors of India. Guidelines for Evaluation of Nano-based Agri-input and food products in India: ♦ The guidelines will encourage the Indian innovators and industries to develop and commercialize new nano-based formulations and products in these sectors. ♦ It is expected that when compared to the bulk form of chemical inputs in crops, the use of nano-nutrients can reduce nutrient run-off into ground and surface water. This will in turn can reduce environmental pollution. ♦ The formulation of these Guidelines is one of the most important steps for delineating quality, safety, and efficacy assessment of the novel nano-formulations which can be commercialized.  ♦ These guidelines are also aimed to provide transparent, consistent, and predictable regulatory pathways for nano-based agri-input and food products in the country.  ♦ The initiative has been brought on board all the Departments and Ministries that deal with Nanotechnology, and nano-based products. ♦ It will also pave the way for significant benefits for the mission on Doubling Farming Income by 2022 and the National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture.

    Mylab launched machine to Automate the manual processes of Molecular Diagnostic Tests

    8 days ago
    Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions has launched 'Compact XL', a machine to automate the manual processes of molecular diagnostic tests including Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for COVID-19. The machine will be available for pre-ordering from 13 July 2020. Highlights: ♦ The machine is a compact bench-top machine that will automate lab processes from sample handling to preparing RT-PCR ready tubes.  ♦ The cartridge-based machine can run 32 samples at a time which can be further increased when machines are connected in a network. ♦ Compact XL can be used for a wide range of RNA and DNA-based tests including COVID-19 RT-PCR tests.  ♦ The machine has been designed in a way that it can take input or samples of various types such as plasma, tissue, sputum, and swab. ♦ The cost of Compact XL has not been announced yet. ♦ Compact XL will ensure that DNA/RNA tests such as COVID-19 testing can be done without manual error, minimal supervision, and reduced human effort.

    Shri Prahlad Singh Patel plants trees to commemorate Sankalp Parva

    8 days ago
    In order to commemorate SankalpParv, Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel planted trees in Qila Rai Pithora and the National Archives of India in Delhi. The move comes as the Ministry of Culture is celebrating Sankalp Parva from 28th June to 12th July 2020. Highlights: ♦ The Ministry expects all its Subordinate Offices, Academies, attached Institutions, and affiliated Institutions to plant trees on its campus or in the surroundings wherever it is possible.  ♦ Ministry of Culture has recommended people to plant five trees that have been identified and represent the herbal heritage of the country.  ♦ These trees are  Bargad Awla Pepal Ashok Bel ♦ The organizations are directed to ensure that each employee should plant at least one tree of his/her choice and over and above these five trees which should be planted under Sankalp Parva.  ♦ The Institutions must also ensure that the employee to take care of plant planted by them during the year so that it survives and flourish.

    DCGI approved launch of Mylan Pharma Remdesivir in India at Rs.4,800 per 100 mg vial

    8 days ago
    Pharma major Mylan received approval for its Remdesivir from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). The company will launch a generic version of Gilead Sciences' COVID-19 anti-viral in the country at Rs.4,800 for 100 mg/vial. Highlights: ♦ The drug will be launched under the brand name Desrem in India and will be available to patients later this month at about 80% below the price tag for wealthy nations. ♦ Mylan will manufacture remdesivir in India at its injectables facilities.  ♦ It has been inspected by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for compliance with good manufacturing practices. ♦ The efforts are aimed to accelerate access to critical medicine for patients with COVID-19 in India.

    Vice President of India to launch Elyments, First Indian Social Media Super App

    11 days ago
    Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu is to launch Elyments, the first Indian Social Media Super App, on 5th July 2020. More than 1000 IT professionals jointly created the indigenous first social media super-app.  Elyments: ♦ Elyments was built with an aim to keep the user's privacy in mind, as a primary concern. ♦ The product was designed by India's top privacy professionals. ♦ Data of users will be stored in the app and will never be shared with a third party without the user's explicit consent. ♦ The app is available in more than eight Indian languages. ♦ The app aims to combine the special features of popular social media apps and present it on a single unified app. ♦ The app will allow the users to stay in touch through a vibrant feed, seamless free audio/video calls, and private/group chats. ♦ Elyments also aims to launch: Audio/ Video conference calls Secure payments via Elyments Pay Public profiles who users can Follow/Subscribe Curated commerce platform to promote Indian brands Regional voice commands

    Himachal Pradesh is to implement of Jal Jeevan Mission to improve the living standard in the State

    11 days ago
    Himachal Pradesh is to implement of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) with an aim to improve the living standard in the State. The main objective of JJM is universal coverage and emphasis is on the principle of equity and inclusiveness, that is, every family in the village should get tap water connection in their household and none is left behind. Highlights: ♦ Himachal Pradesh state has planned to provide 100% coverage by August 2022, ahead of national goal by 2024.  ♦ Upon implementing the mission, Himachal Pradesh will be one of the leading states to accomplish the ambitious target of providing a tap connection to each rural household. The state is also taking steps for faster execution of rural drinking water supply works in the State in order to achieve the target in a time-bound manner. ♦ Under the move, all the villages have been directed to prepare Village Action Plan (VAP) which will comprise of development/ augmentation of drinking water sources, water supply, grey-water management, and operation and maintenance components.  ♦ Out of 17.04 lakh rural households in Himachal Pradesh, 9.52 lakh (55.87%) are already provided with Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs).  ♦ Out of the remaining 7.52 lakh households, Himachal Pradesh plans to provide tap connections in 2.44 lakh households during 2020-21.  ♦ In 2020, the State is planning to provide tap connections to all households in 4,313 villages out of total of 17,250 villages.

    AMC launched Dhanvantri Rath to take Non-COVID healthcare services to doorsteps in Ahmedabad

    11 days ago
    Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has launched Dhanvantri Rath to take Non-COVID healthcare services to peoples’ doorsteps amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The aim is to ensure that non-COVID essential services related to diabetes, blood pressure, heart ailment, etc., are also provisioned to people who cannot visit the hospitals as many of them were not operating the OPDs. Highlights: ♦ Dhanvantri Rath is a mobile van that provides non-COVID essential healthcare services to the doorsteps of the people in the city.  ♦ These vans have an Ayush Doctor, paramedic, and nursing staff along with a local Medical Officer from the Urban Health Centre of AMC.  ♦ So far, AMC has deployed 120 Dhanvantri Raths across Ahmedabad and it has successfully conducted over 4.27 lakh OPDs consultations. ♦ The mobile vans carry all essential medicines including ayurvedic and homeopathic medicines, vitamin supplements, basic testing equipment along with pulse Oxymeter.  ♦ The deployment of Dhanvantri Raths has had a substantial impact on COVID-19 management also, as several hidden cases could be identified in time.

    Meity-NITI launches Digital India AatmaNirbhar Bharat App

    11 days ago
    Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in partnership with Atal Innovation Mission, Niti Aayog launched Digital India AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge for Indian tech entrepreneurs and Startups. The aim is to build a Digital India and using Digital Technologies for building an AatmaNirbhar Bharat. Highlights: ♦ The main objective is to support and build a strong ecosystem for Indian Apps. ♦ It will run in 2 tracks namely  Promotion of Existing Apps Development of New Apps ♦ The focus of the Track 1 App Innovation Challenge is to identify the best Indian Apps that are already being used by citizens and have the potential to scale and become world-class Apps in their respective categories.  ♦ Track 1 has the following 8 broad categories: Office Productivity & Work from Home Social Networking E-Learning Entertainment Health & Wellness Business including Agritech and Fin-tech News Games ♦ The Innovation Challenge has been made available on innovating .mygov.in/app-challenge from 4th July 2020.  ♦ Track 2 of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge is yet to be launched. It aims to seek to identify Indian startups/entrepreneurs/companies and encourage them with ideation, incubation, prototyping, and roll out of applications.  ♦ The track will run for a longer course of time, details of which shall be provided separately.

    Hardeep Singh Puri launched the 6th edition of the annual cleanliness survey of urban India 2021 Swachh Survekshan

    12 days ago
    The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) Shri Hardeep Singh Puri launched the sixth edition of the annual cleanliness survey of urban India, the toolkit for Swachh Survekshan 2021. The survey was conducted by MoHUA. Highlights: ♦ Swachh Survekshan is redesigned innovatively every year, to ensure that the process becomes more robust, with a focus on sustaining the behaviour change.  ♦ In 2019, the Ministry’s efforts focussed on ensuring the sustainability of the sanitation value chain, the SS 2021 indicators focus on parameters pertaining to wastewater treatment and reuse along with faecal sludge. ♦ MoHUA provided a detailed presentation on the methodology and various parameters of Swachh Survekshan 2021. Prerak Dauur Samman: ♦ A new category of awards titled Prerak Dauur Samman will be given as a part of Swachh Survekshan 2021. Top three cities will be recognized in each category. The award has a total of five additional sub-categories namely: Divya (Platinum) Anupam (Gold) Ujjwal (Silver) Udit (Bronze) Aarohi (Aspiring)  ♦ A new category ‘population category’ been added. It will categorize cities on the basis of six select indicator wise performance criteria which are as follows: Segregation of waste into Wet, Dry and Hazard categories Processing capacity against wet waste generated Processing and recycling of wet and dry waste Construction & Demolition (C&D) waste processing Percentage of waste going to landfills Sanitation status of cities

    NHAI to set up InvIT, Committee formed to select best talent for the Board

    13 days ago
    National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is to set up an Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) with an aim to facilitate investment in the highway sector. As part of the structure, a new company will be set up to act as the Investment Manager to the proposed InvIT.  Highlights: ♦ InvIT will be the first-of-its-kind to be sponsored by any government/semi-government entity in India. ♦ It is important to have a professional management structure for the investment manager. ♦ NHAI has set up a committee in order to select the best talent for the appointment of two Independent Directors and one Chairman for the Investment Manager Board.  ♦ Dr.Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, Chairman, NHAI will be the Convenor of the Committee and other members include: Shri Deepak Parekh, Chairman, Housing Development Finance Corporation Shri Girish Chandra Chaturvedi, Chairman, ICICI Bank Shri Sanjay Mitra, Ex-Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. ♦ The aim of setting up of InvIT is to professionally run the Infrastructure Trust to mobilize resources from the market for monetizing completed highway projects of NHAI.

    Centre provided tap connections to 19 lakh households under JJM amid the COVID-19 pandemic

    13 days ago
    Government of India has provided 19 lakh households tap connections under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). JJM aims to provide functional household tap connections (FHTCs) to every rural household of the country by the year 2024. It aims to ensure potable water supply in adequate quantity, which is 55 lpcd (Litres per capita per day), of prescribed quality on a long-term and regular basis. The programme will benefit all rural people. Goals of JJM: ♦ Water delivery in every home through tap connections is an aspiration for women.  ♦ JJM will bring dignity and empowerment to women. ♦ It will bring safety and security to women and girls.  ♦ It will improve ‘ease of living’ and ensures a better ‘quality of life’.  JJM: Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) was launched by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on 73rd Independence Day, which is 15 August 2019, from the ramparts of Red Fort. The mission is under implementation in partnership with States. The main objective of the mission is to have ‘Har Ghar Jal’, every house in the village is to be provided with a tap connection. Under the mission, during 2019-20, more than 84 lakh households were provided with tap connections.

    Amendments in the Indian Stamp Act come into effect from 1 July

    14 days ago
    The Amendments in the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 brought through Finance Act 2019 and Rules made thereunder will come into effect from 1 July 2020 as per the notifications dated 30 March 2020. The amendment will facilitate ease of doing business and to bring in the uniformity of the stamp duty on securities across States. Highlights: ♦ The amendment will build a pan-India securities market after due deliberations and consultations with the States, through requisite amendments in the Indian Stamp Act, 1899. ♦ The rules made thereunder has created the legal and institutional mechanism to enable states to collect stamp duty on securities market instruments at one place by one agency on one Instrument.  Salient Features: The amendments will provide the following structural reforms: The stamp-duty on transfer, sale, and issue of securities will be collected on behalf of the State Government by the collecting agents. The agents will then transfer the collected stamp-duty in the account of the concerned State Government. The amendment will prevent multiple incidences of taxation, no stamp duty will be collected by the States on any secondary record of transaction associated with a transaction on which the stock exchange/depository has been authorized to collect the stamp duty. Stamp duty is payable by both seller and buyer in the new system it is levied only on one side. The collecting agents will be the Stock Exchanges or authorized Clearing Corporations and the Depositories. All the exchange-based secondary market transactions in securities, Stock Exchanges will collect the stamp duty and for off-market transactions and the initial issue of securities happening in Demat form, and the depositories will collect the stamp duty.

    RRI introduces qkdSim toolkit to ensure safety in secure quantum communication platforms

    15 days ago
    Researchers from Raman Research Institute (RRI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), has launched Quantum Key Distribution or QKD. The qkdSim simulation toolkit aims to ensure safety in secure quantum communication platforms. Highlights: ♦ qkdSim is a unique simulation toolkit for end-to-end QKD simulation which is based on modular principles that allow it to be grown to different classes of protocols using various underpinning technologies. ♦ The simulation toolkit will satisfy the recent advisories by the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure online communication via secure platforms. This comes as due to the increasing need for measures to ensure security in the virtual world as the COVID-19 confines most day to day activities to the digital space. ♦ QKD will ensure the security of the key transfer process that lies in using the laws of quantum physics. ♦ RRI team plans to expand the current scope of qkdSim to include entanglement based QKD protocols and experimental comparisons for the same. It will lead to a whole new software that will be highly beneficial to the experimental secure quantum communication community. ♦ This software will be a foundation for the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications developments in the country.

    NBRI to set up Advanced Virology Lab to test COVID-19 disease

    15 days ago
    The National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, has set up an “Advanced Virology Lab” for testing COVID-19 disease. The facility has been established as per the guidelines of the Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR), the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Highlights: ♦ Advanced Virology Lab is a Bio-Safety Level (BSL) 3 level facility. Biosafety levels are assigned to a facility depending on the pathogen it deals with.   ♦ As per the ICMR guidelines, the BSL2 level facility is recommended for COVID-19 and in an advanced manner. ♦ The lab is facilitated with "Negative Pressure", which means it has a suction facility that can suck any aerosol and pass it through filters. It can filter viruses or bacteria to make it a safe COVID-19 testing facility. This will reduce the possibility of infections at culturing facilities.  ♦ The facility will be added to the testing capacity of Uttar Pradesh (UP). Currently, the testing facility in UP tests about 20,000 samples per day. ♦ The Lab will start testing 100 samples a day in the first week and later it will scale up to 500 samples a day.

    DST-SERB, INSA launched photo and film competition with the theme Science through My Eyes

    15 days ago
    Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) are to organize a photo/painting and a one-minute-film competition. The competition aims to help people go beyond their discipline and see, understand, and appreciate science around them.  Highlights: ♦ The competition will foster and promote the scientific spirit, interest in research, and will encourage creative abilities. ♦ The theme for the competition is ‘Science through My Eyes.’  ♦ Some examples of sub-themes are science in the lab, kitchen, sports, hospital, at home, or at work.  ♦ The creation may include any work in the above forms related to the COVID-19 virus, healthy life, geo-heritage, health, fascinating space. ♦ The competition is open to Indian nationals only.  ♦ There is no entry fee for registration.  ♦ A team of two may also be made to create the work.  ♦ The entry can be in the name of an individual or a team of 2 individuals. ♦ Entries are done under 3 groups: doctoral students (Ph.D.) and Post-doctoral Fellows in any discipline,  those pursuing professional degrees like MBBS, MS, MD, M Tech, MBA in any discipline, practicing scientists any other working professionals such as doctors, engineers, technical staff, film-makers, para-medico… etc.  ♦ The entries for the participation in the event may be e-submitted anytime during 11 am on 30th June 2020 and 5 pm on July 15th, 2020.

    Beta Version of PM SVANidhi Portal was launched

    15 days ago
    Secretary, Housing & Urban Affairs Durga Shanker Mishra launched the Beta version of PM Street Vendor's Atma Nirbhar Nidhi "PM SVANidhi" Portal, pmsvanidhi.mohua.gov.in. It aims to leverage digital technology solutions. PM SVANidhi Portal: ♦ PM SVANidhi Portal will provide an integrated end to end IT interface to users for availing benefits under the scheme. ♦ The integrated IT platform will provide an end-to-end solution for scheme administration. ♦ The portal was developed by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), which is the scheme implementation partner for PM SVANidhi.  ♦ The portal will facilitate multiple scheme functions like loan application flow, Mobile App, e-KYC of applicants, integration with UIDAI, Udyamimitra, NPCI, PAiSA, lenders, States, ULBs and other stakeholders, calculation of digital incentives and payment of interest subsidy, etc. ♦ Also, several banks, 15 Microfinance institutions (MFIs) have been onboarded on the portal.  ♦ The portal will be continuously upgraded to add functionalities. PM SVANidhi: PM SVANidhi was launched on 1 June 2020. Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has held detailed interactions with various types of lenders including Banks, MFIs, and NBFCs. Detailed operational guidelines have been issued for the lenders. under PM SVANidhi, it is expected that shortly, all the lenders will issue detailed operating guidelines for the scheme to their field offices to facilitate smooth implementation of the scheme. The scheme nudges the beneficiaries towards digital transactions by engaging with the Digital Payment Aggregators.

    Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi laid foundation stone for Sanskritik Sadbhav Mandap at Rampur, UP

    16 days ago
    Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi laid the foundation stone for "Sanskritik Sadbhav Mandap" at Numaish Ground in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh. It aims for a "Self-reliant India" which is the guarantee of “Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat”.   Sanskritik Sadbhav Mandap: ♦ The Sanskritik Sadbhav Mandap will be constructed with the cost of Rs.92 crore by Union Minority Affairs Ministry under Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karykram (PMJVK).  ♦ The community centre will be utilized for various socio-economic-cultural activities, skill development training, coaching, relief activities during disasters such as Corona and different sports activities. ♦ The move by the Centre is to develop socio-economic-educational and employment-oriented infrastructure across India in backward areas under PMJVK.  ♦ These projects include: 1512 New School Buildings 22514 Additional Class Rooms 630 Hostels 152 Residential Schools 8820 Smart Class Rooms, including those in Kendriya Vidyalayas 32 Colleges 94 ITIs 13 Polytechnics 2 Navodaya Vidyalayas 403 Multi-purpose community centre “Sadbhav Mandap” 598 Market Sheds 2842 toilet and water facilities 135 Common Service Centres 22 Working Women Hostels 1717 Health Projects 5 Hospitals 8 Hunar Hub 10 various sports facilities 5956 Anganwadi Centres etc ♦ So far, a total of around 13,276 projects with a total cost of more than Rs.350 crore have been constructed in Rampur, UP. 

    Maharashtra launches Project Platina, Worlds Largest Plasma Therapy Trial

    16 days ago
    Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray launched the world's largest plasma therapy trials for the COVID-19 "Project Platina". The project is aimed at creating robust data for treating the disease for which no specific line of treatment exists.  Highlights: ♦ The project will help the country's worst-hit state create infrastructure for this line of treatment. ♦ The project will be free of cost ♦ Plasma therapy or Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT) has been proved to be useful in fighting other coronavirus diseases, such as SARS and MERS. ♦ Plasma therapy against COVID-19 has shown encouraging results on patients across the country and the world. ♦ The plasma therapy trials will be conducted in 17 medical colleges across the Maharashtra state. It will account for 1.64 lakh coronavirus cases out of the national total of 5.48 lakh. ♦ The entire funding to support this plasma therapy trial will be spent through the CM Relief fund. ♦ So far, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) had first approved only 21 state-run hospitals to conduct plasma therapy.

    Arjun Munda launched Tribes India products on GEM and new website of TRIFED

    17 days ago
    The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Shri Arjun Munda launched the Trifed Digital Platforms, through Video Conference. He launched the TRIBES India products on the Government e-Marketplace  (GeM) with a diverse range on display and TRIFED’s new website, https://trifed.tribal.gov.in. The launch comes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the country. The Ministry aims to helo the livelihoods of the poor and marginalized communities have been seriously impacted due to the pandemic. The move aims to ease the burden of the tribal artisans during such troubled times. Highlights: ♦ Under this, the Team of “Trifed Warriors” will take Tribal Commerce based on forest produce, handlooms & handicrafts to a new high for transforming tribal lives and livelihoods. The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) team is represented by all the heads of departments and senior officials. ♦ The key focus of the webinar was “TRIFED Goes Digital’ and “Be Vocal for Local’ #GoTribal”. ♦ It was organized by TRIFED and was attended by over 200 participants.  ♦ TRIFED plays a major role in connecting the tribals to the mainstream.  ♦ The TRIFED warriors will focus on extracting and utilizing the wealth of information and knowledge that the tribal communities have, especially with regard to the jungle, and how that can be used to not just benefit their community but also be of greater help to the country and people amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Arunachal Pradesh to provide 100 percent tap connections in the State by 2023 March

    17 days ago
    Arunachal Pradesh state government is to implement Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in the State. The mission aims to improve the lives of rural people by providing safe drinking water to every rural household through household tap connections. Highlights: ♦ Arunachal Pradesh aims to provide 100% Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) to all the households of the State by March 2023.  ♦ Government of India has allocated Rs.255 crore for the State under JJM in 2020-21. The state will be given additional funds in the form of performance grants based on their achievement in terms of tangible outputs, that is the household tap connections and commensurate financial progress.  ♦ As per the state's official data, 2.18 lakh total rural households, 37,000 households have been already provided with tap connections.  ♦ The State is planning to provide 77,000 tap connections in 2020-21.  ♦ The state government is to focus on retrofitting and augmentation of piped water supply schemes already existing in the villages/ habitations so that the remaining household could be provided with tap connections easily in the least possible time in campaign mode. 

    DST launches Logo for the celebration of Golden Jubilee Commemoration Year

    19 days ago
    Secretary Department of Science and Technology (DST) Prof Ashutosh Sharma launched the official Logo for the Golden Jubilee Commemoration Year celebration. DST under the Ministry of Science & Technology has announced many activities like special lecture series of 15-20 lectures in the form of webinars and short feature films on each Autonomous Institutions for the year. Highlights: ♦ DST has been directed to use AI to the newly launched 50 Year logo by representing it on banners in conferences held in the institutes.  ♦ The institutions will co-brand the lecture series with the DST logo to create greater awareness about 50 years of existence of DST. ♦ Institutes with facilities like museums will make a digital walkthrough or virtual tour that gives a realistic version of the work.  ♦ DST will hold lecture series, bringing out publications, documentaries, updating Wikipedia pages of Survey of India, and Autonomous Institutions under DST and events by DST autonomous organizations in India. DST: Department of Science & Technology was established on 3 May 1971. DST functions under the Ministry of Science and Technology in India. DST observes Golden Jubilee Commemoration Year during the period 3rd May 2020 to 2nd May 2021 with activities. The organization aims to promote new areas of Science & Technology. It is the nodal department to organize, coordinate, and promote Scientific and Technological activities in India. DST also provides funds to various approved scientific projects in India. It supports researchers in India to attend conferences abroad and to go for experimental works.

    Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated Battery Swapping Facility Quick Interchange Service in Chandigarh

    19 days ago
    Battery Swapping Facility Quick Interchange Service (QIS) was inaugurated at Chandigarh jointly by V P Singh Badnore, Governor of Punjab-cum-Administrator, UT, Chandigarh, alongwith the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan. Highlights: ♦ Battery swapping technology will offer the best alternative to slow charging.  ♦ The facility will help the drivers to make optimum use of the operational hours.  ♦ The battery swapping model is initially targeted at the commercial segment, that is, electric autos, rickshaws, and electric 2W also and the electric vehicle (EV) which is either factory fitted or retrofitted.  ♦ Indian Oil has signed a non- binding Strategic cooperation document with M/s Sun Mobility to explore setting up of Energy infrastructure for EV through the Battery Swapping model across Indian Oil Retail outlets in select cities.  ♦ Indian Oil will run a Pilot and offering Smart Mobility Proprietary Solutions (SMPLs) to support and service vehicles comprising of e-rickshaws, e-karts, and e-bikes, and e-auto rickshaws up to 20 to 25 quick interchange stations in select cities across India. ♦ The QIS will play a pivotal role in providing an alternative energy solution to the 3-wheeler segment and boosting India’s economic growth.  ♦ The initiative might bring a reform in the energy sector moving towards carbon-neutral culture.

    KVIC launched Sandalwood and Bamboo plantation to stir up monetization of its assets

    20 days ago
    Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) launched Sandalwood and Bamboo plantation to spur monetization of its assets. The first of its kind initiative began with a drive with plantation of 500 saplings each of sandalwood and bamboo at its Nashik training center spread over 262 acres of land. The plantation ceremony was launched through video-conference by KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena. Highlights: ♦ KVIC has procured sandalwood saplings from Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre (FFDC) Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh, and Bamboo saplings from Assam.  ♦ The plantation of the Sandalwood was aimed to create an asset for the KVIC. ♦ It has been estimated to fetch between Rs.50 crore to Rs.60 crore in the next 10 to 15 years.  ♦ A sandalwood tree matures in 10-15 years and as per the current rate, sells at Rs.10 lakh to Rs.12 lakh each. ♦ Sandalwood trees have high potential in the export market. Sandalwood and its oil have high demand in many countries like China, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, and the US. This will create a great opportunity for India to increase sandalwood plantation and occupy the position of a global leader in sandalwood production. ♦ Also, a special variety of bamboo, Bambusa Tulda, was brought from Assam and planted in Maharashtra. This kind of bamboo is used for making Agarbatti sticks. The aim is to support the local Agarbatti industry and to create regular income for the training center.

    NITI Aayog launched Behaviour Change Campaign Navigating the New Normal and Website

    20 days ago
    NITI Aayog, in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Centre for Social and Behavioural Change (CSBC), Ashoka University, and the Ministries of Health and Ministry of Women and Child Development launched a behaviour change campaign called ‘Navigating the New Normal’, and its website on 25 June. Around 92,000 Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) working with NITI Aayog participated in the virtual launch via a webcast. Highlights: ♦ The campaign focuses on COVID-19-safe behaviours, especially wearing masks, during the ‘Unlock’ phase of the ongoing pandemic. ♦ The campaign & website was developed under the guidance of Empowered Group 6, constituted by the Government of India and chaired by CEO, NITI Aayog. ♦ The campaign has two parts.  The first is a web portal, http://www.covidthenewnormal.com/, containing resources informed by behavioural science and the use of nudge and social norms theory, related to COVID-safe behavioural norms during the ongoing Unlock phase The second is a media campaign focused on the wearing of masks. ♦ Empowered Group 6 & Ministry of Health nudged the citizens towards desired social behaviour. ♦ The effort aims to provide people with prompts and reminders along with simple, easy-to-practice ideas of designing their environment in such a manner that practising these behaviours become easy.

    Prime Minister to launch Atma Nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rojgar Abhiyan on 26 June

    20 days ago
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to launch Atma Nirbhar Abhiyan on 26 June 2020 through Video-Conference in presence of the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Prime Minister will interact with villagers from six districts of Uttar Pradesh.  Highlights: ♦ Government of India (GoI) announced the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package to stimulate various sectors.  ♦ Also, Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan was launched on 20 June 2020 to generate employment with thrust towards creating infrastructure in backward regions of the country. ♦ In Uttar Pradesh, nearly 30 lakh migrant workers returned. 31 districts of Uttar Pradesh have more than 25,000 returnee migrant workers. ♦ By launching the abhiyan in UP, it is expected that it will provide employment, promote local entrepreneurship and create partnership with Industrial associations and other organizations to provide employment opportunities. ♦ For this, GoI & the UP State government has created partnerships with Industry and other organizations.

    Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated Product Application and Development Centre at Paradip, Odisha

    20 days ago
    Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Dharmendra Pradhan along with the Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik inaugurated a Product Application & Development Centre (PADC) at Paradip, through video conference on 25 June. It was set up by Indian Oil. PADC: ♦ PADC is setup by IndianOil at Paradip with a capex of Rs.43 crores, adjacent to its Refinery and Petrochemicals complex.  ♦ There are 4 laboratories in PADC namely Polymer Processing Lab, Analytical Testing Lab, Chemical Analysis Lab, and Characterisation Lab. ♦ The Technical centre is equipped with 50 latest sophisticated polymer testing and processing equipment to cater to the needs of customers and new investors. ♦ PADC, Paradip is recognized as a research centre by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt of India. ♦ PADC will act as an incubation centre for new entrepreneur development in and around Odisha in the field of Plastics. ♦ The centre will render assistance to customers and investors in product and application development for polymer finished products such as molded furniture, houseware, woven sacks for packaging cement, fertilizer, healthcare applications like baby diaper, personal protective suit, mask, etc. ♦ The centre will carry out testing and developmental activities for investors of Paradeep Plastic Park and other clusters like Balasore and Khurda.

    Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched eBloodServices Mobile App

    20 days ago
    Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched the ‘eBloodServices’ mobile App on 25 June 2020 through video conferencing. The app was developed by the Indian Red Cross Society (ICRS). The Union Health Minister is the Chairman of the Indian Red Cross Society. eBloodServices Mobile App: ♦ eBloodServices Mobile App is developed by the E-Raktkosh team of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) under the Digital India scheme launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in 2015.  ♦ This Blood Donation App is a prime example of how the Digital India Scheme is serving the need for accessing blood services. ♦ Through this App, four units of blood can be requisitioned at a time and the blood bank will wait for as long as 12 hours for the person to collect it.  ♦ This app makes it easy for those in need to request for Blood units at IRCS NHQ. ♦ Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mobile App will provide succor to all those who direly require blood. ♦ The NHQ Blood Bank conducted 55 blood donation camps collecting 2896 units of blood. A total of 5221 units were collected during the lockdown period. 

    Cabinet approves declaration of Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh as an International Airport

    21 days ago
    Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the declaration of Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh as an International Airport. Kushinagar Airport: ♦ Kushinagar Airport is located in the vicinity of several Buddhist Cultural Sites like Sravasti, Kapilvastu, Lumbini. ♦ The declaration of Kushinagar Airport as an International Airport will offer improved connectivity, a wider choice of competitive costs to the air-travellers. ♦ The decision will result in boosting domestic/international tourism and economic development of the regions.   ♦ It will be an important strategic location with the international border close by. Note: Kushinagar is located in the north-eastern part of Uttar Pradesh about 50 km east of Gorakhpur. It is one of the important Buddhist pilgrimage sites.

    Dr. Jitendra Singh inaugurated two important Bridges in Jammu and Kashmir

    21 days ago
    Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), (MoS) Dr.Jitendra Singh inaugurated two important Bridges namely Devika and Puneja in Udhampur and Doda districts respectively in Jammu & Kashmir through the virtual platform. The bridge projects will usher in a new era of development for the region. Devika Bridge in Udhampur District: ♦ Devika Bridge in Udhampur District is 10-meter-long and costs around Rs.75 lakhs. ♦ The bridge will solve the traffic issues in the region. ♦ The bridge will help in the smooth passage of Army convoys and vehicles. ♦ The bridge was constructed by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in a span of 1 year. Puneja Bridge: ♦ Puneja Bridge was constructed by BRO at a cost of Rs.4 Crore at Bhaderwah in Doda District.  ♦ The bridge is 50-meter-long Puneja ♦ Basoli-Bani-Bhaderwah road is a vital alternate link to the Doda, Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, and Kashmir valley from Pathankot (Punjab) region without passing Jammu and Udhampur.  ♦ The new connectivity and infrastructure projects will make Doda to emerge as a new centre of development.

    Ministry of HRD released roadmap for 2020-21 NCERT

    21 days ago
    Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has released the roadmap for NCERT for the year 2020-21. The move comes as it has been decided to set up a Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission under AtmaNirbhar Bharat. The move also focuses on Samagra Shiksha towards a Learning Outcome centric approach. Highlights: ♦ MHRD & Department of School Education & Literacy (DoSEL) has directed the NCERT to develop the required resources for implementing these in an effective and timely manner which will lead to an all-around improvement in learning outcomes and learning levels of students.   ♦ Infographics, posters, presentations will explain each of the Learning Outcomes (LOs), for each subject, and for each grade for classes 1-5 will be completed by October 2020 and for classes 6-12 by March 2021. ♦ Online Teacher training courses for teachers of each grade for classes 1 to 5 will be conducted in phases by December 2020 and for classes 6 to 12 in phases by June 2021. ♦ NCERT will prepare supplementary/alternative academic learning material for the entire curriculum for learners amid the COVID-19 crisis, especially those who are not able to get access to the digital/online access, for classes 1-5 in phases by December 2020; for classes 6-12 in phases by June 2021. ♦ At least 10 items & questions each to measure each LO of each subject for each grade in at least two levels of proficiency to be prepared for classes 1 to 5 by November 2020 and for the rest of the classes by March 2021. New National Curriculum Framework (NCF) The Ministry has also initiated a new NCF for School Education. NCERT will be expected to make changes in the textbooks in accordance with the new NCF. Subject experts will initiate this process for school education, and give an interim report by December 2020. MHRD has instructed NCERT to ensure that nothing but the core content is placed in textbooks while redesigning textbooks. Also, the cognitive load of the textbooks is too high.  Additional areas including creative thinking, life skills, Indian ethos, art, and integration, etc. will be integrated. NCERT will start working on the layout and design of the new textbooks well in advance, however, the new textbooks shall be written based on the new NCF. The new NCF will be prepared by March 2021. For PM E-Vidya, NCERT is to prepare content for Class 1-12 for SWAYAM PRABHA channels (1 class 1 channel) and start the channels by August 2020.

    Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released 2020 Annual TB Report

    21 days ago
    Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan released the annual TB Report 2020 through a virtual event on 24 June. Also, a Joint Monitoring Mission (JMM) report, a manual on Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to TB patients under NIKSHAY system, a Training Module, and the quarterly newsletter NIKSHAY Patrika was released. Report Highlights: ♦ The report stated that around 24.04 Lakh TB patients have been notified in the year 2019. The new reports amount to a 14% increase in TB notification as compared to the year 2018. ♦ Centre is to achieve near-complete on-line notification of TB patients through the NIKSHAY system. ♦ There occurred a reduction in the number of missing cases to 2.9 lakh cases against more than 10 lakhs in 2017. ♦ Notifications by the Private sector increased by 35% with 6.78 lakh TB patients notified. ♦ It also reported that the proportion of children diagnosed with TB has increased to 8% in 2019 against 6% in 2018, due to easy availability of molecular diagnostics. ♦ The provision to test HIV for all notified TB patients has increased from 67% in 2018 to 81% in 2019. ♦ Treatment services have expanded and resulted in a 12% improvement in the treatment success rate of notified patients to 81% in 2019 against 69% in 2018. ♦ More than 4.5 lakh DOT Centers provide treatment covering almost every village across the country. ♦ NIKSHAY Patrika has expanded the provision of four DBT schemes of the programme namely: Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY) to TB patients Incentive to Treatment Supporters Incentive to Private Providers Transport incentive to TB patients in the notified tribal areas

    Cabinet approved setting up of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund

    21 days ago
    The Union Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved setting up of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF). The approval is to provide a much-needed boost to infrastructure across sectors, which are crucial in the time of the pandemic. Highlights: ♦ To set up AHIDF, the Centre allocated a sum of Rs.15000 crore. ♦ AHIDF will be an incentive infrastructure investment in dairy, meat processing, and animal feed plants.  ♦ The beneficiaries who are eligible under the Scheme are Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), MSMEs, Section 8 Companies, Private Companies, and individual entrepreneurs with only a 10% margin money contribution by them.  ♦ The remaining 90% will be the loan component that is to be made available to them by scheduled banks. ♦ Centre will provide a 3% interest subvention to eligible beneficiaries.  ♦ It also announced a 2 years moratorium period for repayment of the loan with 6 years repayment period thereafter.  ♦ GoI is to establish a Credit Guarantee Fund of Rs.750 crore to be managed by NABARD. It will credit guarantee to the projects that are covered under the MSME defined ceilings. ♦ Guarantee Coverage will be up to 25% of the Credit facility of the borrower. Background: GoI had earlier approved the Dairy Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) worth Rs.10,000 crores for incentivizing investment by the cooperative sector for the development of dairy infrastructure. But, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Private companies were also needed to be promoted and incentivized for their participation in processing and value addition infrastructure in the animal husbandry sector.

    Make in India initiative in locust control trials of prototype vehicle mounted ULV sprayer successfully conducted

    22 days ago
    Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW), under Make in India initiative indigenously develop a vehicle-mounted ULV sprayer for locust control to overcome the limitation of importing equipment.  Highlights: ♦ Mechanization and Technology Division of DAC&FW developed a prototype of the sprayer, through an Indian manufacturer.  ♦ The trials of the sprayer were successfully conducted in Ajmer and Bikaner district of Rajasthan. ♦ As the ground control vehicles with sprayers used for locust control can only spray up to a height of 25-30 feet the tractor-mounted sprayers were used. It reached to the inaccessible areas and tall trees. ♦ The deployment of drones has enhanced another dimension in the capabilities of Locust Circle offices to ensure effective control over desert locust. ♦ Currently, vehicle-mounted sprayers were supplied by M/s Micron Sprayers, UK. GoI placed an order for 60 nos. of sprayers on the firm in February 2020.

    PM CARES allocates Rs.2000 crore to fight COVID-19 pandemic

    22 days ago
    Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) Trust has allocated Rs.2000 crore for supply of 50000 Made-in-India ventilators to government-run COVID-19 hospitals in all States/Union Territories (UT). Further, a sum of Rs. 1000 crore has been allocated for the welfare of migrant labourers.   Highlights: ♦ Out of the 50000 Made-in-India ventilators, 30000 ventilators is manufactured by M/s Bharat Electronics Limited.   ♦ The other 20000 ventilators will be manufactured by AgVa Healthcare (10000), AMTZ Basic (5650), AMTZ High End (4000), and Allied Medical (350). ♦ Until now, 2923 ventilators have been manufactured. Out of the newly manufactured ventilators, 1340 ventilators have already been delivered to the States/UTs.   ♦ The ventilators were distributed to states including Maharashtra (275), Delhi (275), Gujarat (175), Bihar (100), Karnataka (90), Rajasthan (75).  ♦ It is expected that by the end of June 2020, additional 14,000 ventilators will be delivered to all States/UTs. Other measures: Also, PM CARES Fund trust has provided a sum of Rs.1000 crore to States/UTs for the welfare of the migrant labourers. The distribution of the fund is based on the formula of 50% weightage for the population as per the 2011 census, 40% weightage for the number of positive COVID-19 cases & the remaining 10% for equal distribution among all the States/UTs.  This assistance was used to arranged accommodation, food, medical treatment, and transportation of the migrants in the respective states.  The main recipients of the grant are: Maharashtra with Rs.181 crore Uttar Pradesh with Rs.103 crore Tamil Nadu with Rs.83 crore Gujarat with Rs.66 crore Delhi with Rs.55 crore West Bengal with Rs.53 crore Bihar with Rs.51 crore Madhya Pradesh with Rs.50 crore Rajasthan with Rs.50 crore Karnataka with Rs.34 crore

    Union HRD Minister launched YUKTI 2.0 platform for Higher Education Institutes in New Delhi

    22 days ago
    Union Minister of Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ launched an initiative 'YUKTI 2.0' on 23 June 2020 in New Delhi. The initiative aims to help systematically assimilate technologies having commercial potential and information related to incubated startups in higher education institutions.  YUKTI 2.0: ♦ YUKTI stands for Young India combating COVID with Knowledge, Technology & Innovation ♦ YUKTI 2.0 is the logical extension of the earlier version of 'YUKTI'. ♦ The initiative aims to identify ideas relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic.  ♦ YUKTI 2.0 will help in fostering the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the academic institutions. ♦ The initiative is expected to help the government to identify bottlenecks and formulate appropriate policies to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the country.  ♦ It will also support creative innovations and technologies to help the society at large.  ♦ The portal will prove to be a milestone towards promoting innovations and entrepreneurship culture in the higher education system and involving youth in nation-building. Background: YUKTI was launched on 11 April 2020 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to cover the different dimensions of COVID-19 challenges in a very holistic and comprehensive way. It was launched with an aim to ensure that students, teachers, and researchers in higher educational institutions are getting appropriate support to meet the requirements needed to advance their technologies and innovations. The outcomes of the earlier version of ‘YUKTI’ will be released soon by MHRD.

    NITI Aayog, ITF to launch Decarbonising Transport

    23 days ago
    NITI Aayog in collaboration with International Transport Forum (ITF) is to launch the “Decarbonising Transport in India” project on 24 June. The project intends to develop a pathway towards a low-carbon transport system for India. The project will be launched by ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. Decarbonising Transport in India: ♦ The project will inform the transport and climate stakeholders in India about planned project activities.  ♦ The project will provide an opportunity to provide inputs regarding India’s transport challenges and how it can be related to CO2 reduction ambitions. The discussion will help to focus the project further on India’s specific needs and circumstances. ♦ Decarbonising Transport in India project will design a tailor-made transport emissions assessment framework for India.  ♦ It will provide the government with a detailed understanding of current & future transport activity and the related CO2 emissions as a basis for their decision-making. ♦ The project is carried out in the wider context of the International Transport Forum’s “Decarbonising Transport” initiative.  ♦ This project is a part of the Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies (DTEE) family of projects, which supports transport decarbonisation across different world regions.  ♦ The launch ceremony will be available on YouTube Livestream at https://youtu.be/l2G5x5RdBUM

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